The Mystery Night Critter Strikes Again (Help!)

by Cynthia

I have been having problems with something visiting my garden at night and leaving signs of its visit by digging small holes throughout the whole yard. I posted about it in greater detail yesterday.

I have a pair of foam like garden shoes that you can find in stores everywhere these days. I like to wear them when I go out in the morning to water and what not. When I am done outside I slip them off and place them by the sliding glass door where they will be waiting for me the next day.

This morning I opened the door and stepped out to slip my shoes on and felt a moment of utter confusion. Only one shoe was there. “Where’s the other shoe?” I thought out loud. I stood there for several minutes thoroughly baffled. Could the wind of tossed it off the deck, I wondered. It then began to sink in to me that maybe my mystery guest of the night got it. No, that can’t be right, could it?

I stepped off the deck and into the garden and sure enough there was my lost shoe laying there with chunks taken out of it. I cautiously approached it like the thing that did this was going to jump out from behind the catmint and try to stop me from recovering its new found toy.

I was shocked by the shape the shoe was in. Tiny little puncture marks were all over it. Something was really sinking its teeth into it. And tiny little sharp teeth they must be. What is doing this? I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being more than a little spooked by this. After all, whatever it is was right up on my deck by the door last night.My poor shoe

My sons, being typical boys that they are, want to camp out tonight and have a stake out. I’m not too sure after seeing my shoe. Perhaps I am over reacting a little. But seeing my shoe like that did leave an unsettled feeling in my stomach. I keep thinking about something roaming my garden while I am asleep.

I am failing to mention that last week this not so welcome guest tore the foam grip off of my watering wand and ripped it to shreds while also biting some holes into the hose during one of its late night visits. It makes me want to go get a dog.

Again, I ask if anyone has any ideas on what this may be or what to do about it please either contact me or leave a comment.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Ann July 1, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Oh my. This is quite a mystery! Maybe your boys should be house detectives, set up *inside* the house, near a window with flashlights at the near and ready. Maybe that way they will see the critter who likes your shoes and other supplies. I hope you find out what it is soon. I curious to know what it might be. It seems a little odd that it tried to eat your shoe.

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Cindy July 1, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Mary Ann- That might be a good idea, having them perform their little stakeout in the house. It seems it is coming by late in the night or maybe early, early morning. It’s very bizarre what it did to my shoe and watering wand! It left me feeling a little creeped out! :-{

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themanicgardener July 1, 2008 at 4:43 pm

That is a very strange story. It seems that somebody really doesn’t like you. Or at least your shoe. I hope you find out what it is–without any more damage to persons or property. I think if my sons were planning such a stake-out, I’d want to participate. And I KNOW I’d be armed with potlids and metal spoons for making a heck of a racket.

Brainstorm–those sharp teeth–could it be a fox? (Though why a fox would choose to gnaw on your shoe, I don’t know. A young fox? Teething? I am totally making this stuff up, but I wonder. ) I’m remembering a fox that ripped a hole in our tent in Japan and made off with some of our food before we woke up and chased him off. Very bold, very sharp teeth.

Good luck figuring it out.
–Kate

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Cindy July 1, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Kate- I’ve been wondering if it is an animal with its litter of babies with it because of those sharp little teeth. Then again I was thinking opossum maybe? Do they eat worms and grubs? I’m really blown away by it. Every morning this week I have gone out wondering what I will find next.

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James July 1, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Hmmm. I can’t say I’ve ever run into anything like this damage you’re seeing. It’s interesting (and maybe a little unsettling) that whatever it is is going after shoes and handles that likely have a little human scent on them. I can understand your apprehension!

Fortunately, most of the critters are pretty small compared to us humans. (Could you imagine a six-foot raccoon or a ten-foot possum? Now that would be terror!) Best of luck with your mystery critter…

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Cindy July 1, 2008 at 10:20 pm

James- That is exactly what I was thinking- the shoes and wand must have my scent on them so why wasn’t that keeping the critter away. That’s why I feel so spooked- thinking about it right up on my deck next to the door.

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Daphne Gould July 2, 2008 at 8:28 am

I’m guessing it is chewing your shoes and other things for the salt that they contain. You sweat. The sweat dries in or on the foam. Lots of people that go backpacking protect their hiking boots because the porcupines love to chew on shoes, but it could be any animal with a love for salt. Or then again maybe it just has a taste for plastic.

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Cindy July 2, 2008 at 10:22 am

Daphne- That is any interesting point and makes sense too. I left my porch light on last night and that seemed to have kept it off the deck but it did return last night for my cantaloupe was dug up once again. *sigh*

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Mrs. Greenhands July 2, 2008 at 12:57 pm

You know, it could be raccoons. I have problems with raccoons in my gardens, especially when the corn is getting close to harvest. They have really sharp teeth and they been known to get into garbage cans, so I wouldn’t put it past one to grab up your shoe, thinking it might be a tasty morsel.

I’m new to your site, but I like what I see. I’ll be checking back in!

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Cindy July 2, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Mrs. Greenhands- Thanks for visiting my site!
Raccoons are one of the critters I was thinking the mystery visitor might be. My sons have seem them around our neighborhood before. Do they eat worms or grubs? That is the only thing I can think this visitor is after with the way it keeps digging.
Once again thanks for stopping by- love your name! :-)

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